Behavior or behaviour refers to the actions and mannerisms made by organisms
In biology, an organism is any contiguous living system . In at least some form, all organisms are capable of response to stimuli, reproduction, growth and development, and maintenance of homoeostasis as a stable whole.An organism may either be unicellular or, as in the case of humans, comprise...

, systems, or artificial entities
Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is the intelligence of machines and the branch of computer science that aims to create it. AI textbooks define the field as "the study and design of intelligent agents" where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its...

 in conjunction with its environment, which includes the other systems or organisms around as well as the physical environment. It is the response of the system or organism to various stimuli or inputs, whether internal or external, conscious or subconscious
The term subconscious is used in many different contexts and has no single or precise definition. This greatly limits its significance as a definition-bearing concept, and in consequence the word tends to be avoided in academic and scientific settings....

, overt or covert, and voluntary
Voluntary may refer to:* Voluntary * Voluntary or volunteer, person participating via volunteering/volunteerism- See also :* Voluntary action* Voluntariness, in law and philosophy* Voluntaryism, rejection of coercion...

 or involuntary
Involuntary is the antonym of voluntary. An involuntary action is one that occurs without volition or will; see volition and will . Involuntary may also refer to:*Involuntary , a 2008 Swedish film by Ruben Östlund...



In humans, behavior is believed to be controlled primarily by the endocrine system
Endocrine system
In physiology, the endocrine system is a system of glands, each of which secretes a type of hormone directly into the bloodstream to regulate the body. The endocrine system is in contrast to the exocrine system, which secretes its chemicals using ducts. It derives from the Greek words "endo"...

 and the nervous system
Nervous system
The nervous system is an organ system containing a network of specialized cells called neurons that coordinate the actions of an animal and transmit signals between different parts of its body. In most animals the nervous system consists of two parts, central and peripheral. The central nervous...

. It is most commonly believed that complexity in the behavior of an organism is correlated to the complexity of its nervous system. Generally, organisms with more complex nervous systems have a greater capacity to learn
LEARN may refer to:* Law Enforcement Agency Resource Network, a website run by the Anti-Defamation League* LEARN diet, a brand name diet product...

 new responses and thus adjust their behavior.

Behaviors can be either innate or learned, however, current research in the Human Microbiome Project
Human microbiome project
The Human Microbiome Project is a United States National Institutes of Health initiative with the goal of identifying and characterizing the microorganisms which are found in association with both healthy and diseased humans . Launched in 2008, it is a five-year project, best characterized as a...

 points towards a possibility that human behavior may be controlled by the composition of the microbe population within a human body.

Behavior can be regarded as any action of an organism that changes its relationship to its environment. Behavior provides outputs from the organism to the environment.


Human behavior
Human behavior
Human behavior refers to the range of behaviors exhibited by humans and which are influenced by culture, attitudes, emotions, values, ethics, authority, rapport, hypnosis, persuasion, coercion and/or genetics....

 (and that of other organism
In biology, an organism is any contiguous living system . In at least some form, all organisms are capable of response to stimuli, reproduction, growth and development, and maintenance of homoeostasis as a stable whole.An organism may either be unicellular or, as in the case of humans, comprise...

s and mechanisms) can be common, unusual, acceptable, or unacceptable
Deviant Behavior
Deviant Behavior is an interdisciplinary journal which focuses on social deviance, including criminal, sexual, and narcotic behaviors.The journal is published by Taylor and Francis, Inc., and was ranked 41st out of 46 psychology journals and 46th out of 90 sociology journals in 2004 by the...

. Humans evaluate the acceptability
A taboo is a strong social prohibition relating to any area of human activity or social custom that is sacred and or forbidden based on moral judgment, religious beliefs and or scientific consensus. Breaking the taboo is usually considered objectionable or abhorrent by society...

 of behavior using social norms and regulate behavior by means of social control
Social control
Social control refers generally to societal and political mechanisms or processes that regulate individual and group behavior, leading to conformity and compliance to the rules of a given society, state, or social group. Many mechanisms of social control are cross-cultural, if only in the control...

. In sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

, behavior is considered as having no meaning, being not directed at other people and thus is the most basic human action, although it can play a part in diagnosis of disorders such as the autism spectrum disorders. Animal behavior is studied in comparative psychology
Comparative psychology
Comparative psychology generally refers to the scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of non-human animals. However, scientists from different disciplines do not always agree on this definition...

, ethology
Ethology is the scientific study of animal behavior, and a sub-topic of zoology....

, behavioral ecology
Behavioral ecology
Behavioral ecology, or ethoecology, is the study of the ecological and evolutionary basis for animal behavior, and the roles of behavior in enabling an animal to adapt to its environment...

 and sociobiology
Sociobiology is a field of scientific study which is based on the assumption that social behavior has resulted from evolution and attempts to explain and examine social behavior within that context. Often considered a branch of biology and sociology, it also draws from ethology, anthropology,...

. According to moral values, human behavior may also depend upon the common, usual, unusual, acceptable or unacceptable behavior of others.

Behavior became an important construct in early 20th century psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

 with the advent of the paradigm known subsequently as "behaviorism
Behaviorism , also called the learning perspective , is a philosophy of psychology based on the proposition that all things that organisms do—including acting, thinking, and feeling—can and should be regarded as behaviors, and that psychological disorders are best treated by altering behavior...

." Behaviorism was a reaction against "faculty" psychology which purported to see into or understand the mind without the benefit of scientific testing. Behaviorism insisted on working only with what can be seen or manipulated and in the early views of John B. Watson
John B. Watson
John Broadus Watson was an American psychologist who established the psychological school of behaviorism. Watson promoted a change in psychology through his address Psychology as the Behaviorist Views it which was given at Columbia University in 1913...

, a founder of the field, nothing was inferred as to the nature of the entity that produced the behavior. Subsequent modifications of Watson's perspective and that of "classical conditioning
Classical conditioning
Classical conditioning is a form of conditioning that was first demonstrated by Ivan Pavlov...

" (see under Ivan Pavlov
Ivan Pavlov
Ivan Petrovich Pavlov was a famous Russian physiologist. Although he made significant contributions to psychology, he was not in fact a psychologist himself but was a mathematician and actually had strong distaste for the field....

) led to the rise of operant conditioning
Operant conditioning
Operant conditioning is a form of psychological learning during which an individual modifies the occurrence and form of its own behavior due to the association of the behavior with a stimulus...

 or "radical behaviorism," a theory advocated by B.F. Skinner, which took over the academic establishment up through the 1950s and was synonymous with "behaviorism" for many.

For studies on behavior, ethogram
An ethogram is a catalogue or inventory of all behaviours or actions exhibited by an animal used in ethology. The behaviours in an ethogram are usually defined to be mutually exclusive and objective, avoiding subjectivity and functional inference as to their possible purpose.For example, a species...

s are used.

Other fields

Behavior outside of psychology includes physical property
Physical property
A physical property is any property that is measurable whose value describes a physical system's state. The changes in the physical properties of a system can be used to describe its transformations ....

 and chemical reactions.

Computer science

Behavior as used in computer science
Computer science
Computer science or computing science is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and of practical techniques for their implementation and application in computer systems...

 is an anthropomorphic construct that assigns "life" to the activities carried out by a computer, computer application, or computer code in response to stimuli, such as user input. Also, "a behavior" is a reusable block of computer code or script that, when applied to an object
Object (computer science)
In computer science, an object is any entity that can be manipulated by the commands of a programming language, such as a value, variable, function, or data structure...

, especially a graphical one, causes it to respond to user input in meaningful patterns or to operate independently. Also, behavior is a value that changes over time (one of the key concepts in functional reactive programming
Functional reactive programming
Functional reactive programming is a programming paradigm for reactive programming using the building blocks of functional programmingThe key points of FRP are:* Input is viewed as a "behavior", or time-varying stream of events...

). The term can also be applied to some degree to functions
Function (mathematics)
In mathematics, a function associates one quantity, the argument of the function, also known as the input, with another quantity, the value of the function, also known as the output. A function assigns exactly one output to each input. The argument and the value may be real numbers, but they can...

 in mathematics, referring to the anatomy of curve
In mathematics, a curve is, generally speaking, an object similar to a line but which is not required to be straight...


Earth sciences

In environmental modeling
Environmental science
Environmental science is an interdisciplinary academic field that integrates physical and biological sciences, to the study of the environment, and the solution of environmental problems...

 and especially in hydrology
Hydrology is the study of the movement, distribution, and quality of water on Earth and other planets, including the hydrologic cycle, water resources and environmental watershed sustainability...

, a "behavioral model" means a model that is acceptably consistent with observed natural processes, i.e., that simulates well, for example, observed river discharge
Discharge (hydrology)
In hydrology, discharge is the volume rate of water flow, including any suspended solids , dissolved chemical species and/or biologic material , which is transported through a given cross-sectional area...

. It is a key concept of the so-called Generalized Likelihood Uncertainty Estimation (GLUE
GLUE (uncertainty assessment)
In hydrology, Generalized Likelihood Uncertainty Estimation is a statistical method for quantifying the uncertainty of model predictions. The method has been introduced by Beven and Binley...

) methodology to quantify how uncertain environmental predictions are.

See also

  • Applied behavior analysis
    Applied Behavior Analysis
    Applied behavior analysis is a science that involves using modern behavioral learning theory to modify behaviors. Behavior analysts reject the use of hypothetical constructs and focus on the observable relationship of behavior to the environment...

  • Behavioral Cusp
    Behavioral cusp
    A behavioral cusp is any behavior change that brings an organism's behavior into contact with new contingencies that have far-reaching consequences...

  • Behavioral economics
  • Behavioural sciences
    Behavioural sciences
    The term behavioural sciences encompasses all the disciplines that explore the activities of and interactions among organisms in the natural world. It involves the systematic analysis and investigation of human and animal behaviour through controlled and naturalistic observation, and disciplined...

  • Behaviorism
    Behaviorism , also called the learning perspective , is a philosophy of psychology based on the proposition that all things that organisms do—including acting, thinking, and feeling—can and should be regarded as behaviors, and that psychological disorders are best treated by altering behavior...

  • Cognitive bias
    Cognitive bias
    A cognitive bias is a pattern of deviation in judgment that occurs in particular situations. Implicit in the concept of a "pattern of deviation" is a standard of comparison; this may be the judgment of people outside those particular situations, or may be a set of independently verifiable...

  • Ethology
    Ethology is the scientific study of animal behavior, and a sub-topic of zoology....

  • Evolutionary physiology
    Evolutionary physiology
    Evolutionary physiology is the study of physiological evolution, which is to say, the manner in which the functional characteristics of individuals in a population of organisms have responded to selection across multiple generations during the history of the population.It is a subdiscipline of both...

  • Experimental analysis of behavior
    Experimental analysis of behavior
    The experimental analysis of behavior is the name given to the school of psychology founded by B.F. Skinner, and based on his philosophy of radical behaviorism. A central principle was the inductive, data-driven examination of functional relations, as opposed to the kinds of hypothetico-deductive...

  • Human sexual behavior
    Human sexual behavior
    Human sexual activities or human sexual practices or human sexual behavior refers to the manner in which humans experience and express their sexuality. People engage in a variety of sexual acts from time to time, and for a wide variety of reasons...

  • Instinct
    Instinct or innate behavior is the inherent inclination of a living organism toward a particular behavior.The simplest example of an instinctive behavior is a fixed action pattern, in which a very short to medium length sequence of actions, without variation, are carried out in response to a...

  • Motivation
    Motivation is the driving force by which humans achieve their goals. Motivation is said to be intrinsic or extrinsic. The term is generally used for humans but it can also be used to describe the causes for animal behavior as well. This article refers to human motivation...

  • Normality (behavior)
    Normality (behavior)
    In behavior, normal refers to a lack of significant deviation from the average. The phrase "not normal" is often applied in a negative sense Abnormality varies greatly in how pleasant or unpleasant this is for other people.The Oxford English Dictionary defines "normal" as "conforming to a standard"...

  • Organizational studies
    Organizational studies
    Organizational studies, sometimes known as organizational science, encompass the systematic study and careful application of knowledge about how people act within organizations...

  • Radical behaviorism
    Radical behaviorism
    Radical behaviorism is a philosophy developed by B.F. Skinner that underlies the experimental analysis of behavior approach to psychology. The term radical behaviorism applies to a particular school that emerged during the reign of behaviorism...

  • Reasoning
  • Rebellion
    Rebellion, uprising or insurrection, is a refusal of obedience or order. It may, therefore, be seen as encompassing a range of behaviors aimed at destroying or replacing an established authority such as a government or a head of state...

  • Social relation
    Social relation
    In social science, a social relation or social interaction refers to a relationship between two , three or more individuals . Social relations, derived from individual agency, form the basis of the social structure. To this extent social relations are always the basic object of analysis for social...

  • Theories of political behavior
    Theories of political behavior
    Theories of political behavior, as an aspect of political science, attempt to quantify and explain the influences that define a person's political views, ideology, and levels of political participation...

  • Work behavior
    Work behavior
    Work behavior is a term used to describe the behavior one uses in employment and is normally more formal than other types of human behavior. This varies from profession to profession, as some are far more casual than others...

External links

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